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Re: Print-on-demand Book Scams and Nigerian Universities

Apparently, many more people than I initially imagined got scammed by Lambert Academic Publishing. After the publication of my colum...

Apparently, many more people than I initially imagined got scammed by Lambert Academic Publishing. After the publication of my column, I got phone calls from academics in Nigeria, South Africa, and Malaysia telling me how they fell victim to Lambert’s trickery. I also learned that books published by Lambert are officially blacklisted in Malaysia and many South African universities.

I have reproduced below a sample of the responses I received from readers. I need to point out that many people who submitted their manuscripts to Lambert Academic Publishing did so innocently. I know many of them well enough to know that they are people of integrity who never intended to cut corners. I should have pointed out that fact more boldly in last week’s column. But I hope my little contribution will serve as a note of caution for many would-be victims.

Your column is quite apt. So many Nigerians are being 'scammed' by this so-called publishing house, and it was high time that the public knew this. I have discovered that LAP is not only interested in 'scamming' academics; creative writers are also some of its victims. I got to discover I was in a fraud 'net' a couple of days after I mailed my manuscript to them. Without having read even a chapter, they informed me that they were interested in publishing my work. A few days after I paid in what they called processing fee, they announced to me that my work would be published in the next four weeks, and that I should receive my own copy seven weeks after. And, smart guys, they were always prompt with their mails. Send in something and before your computer sleeps they are there with a reply. The only time they delayed - for several days until I re-sent the mail, was when I talked about the need for an agreement and asked how I could get my royalties. And their reply to that was meaningless.

 Well, since I received a copy of my novel, "A Mandate from the Shrine" about a month now, I have gone through several pages and discovered to my chagrin very embarrassing grammatical errors, with some pages muddled up. It would interest you to know that in some of the pages where I had some words or parts underlined, they left it for me like that. This is actually not a work you are likely to get a handshake by showing a discerning friend. I kept that under lock and key. Now, all the mistakes cropped up because what I sent to them was not the edited copy of my manuscript. Just when I was about telling them that, they had proudly informed me they had started work on it. Suffice to say that they are wicked and a shame to the intellectual world. But having said, that, it must be understood that many writers get into this net because of the harsh publishing environment in many countries, especially Nigeria.
Habib Yakoob, Abuja

I've just finished reading your latest blog posting. I'm too ashamed to comment openly because the said Lambert Publishing almost scammed me. I had sent them my master’s manuscript after they sent to me the generic email you referred to. But I quickly paused after I suspected certain things didn't look quite right with their procedures. I decided to make further inquiries, but this time not through emails. I placed a call to the number shown on their website and could not believe my ears when all I got was an automated message.

The information was that they normally didn't take phone calls and that their business was exclusively conducted by emails. I quickly smelt a rat and immediately terminated email discussions with them. They continued pestering me thereafter. I had to finally threaten them before they eventually stopped bothering me. There's just a lot of shit going on.
Anonymous (writer, who resides in North America, does not want his name in print)

Truth is, I also received this kind of mail, urging me to publish my Ph.D. dissertation into a book, just the same way you described. I was not enthusiastic for two reasons. One, how did they get my email address and two, I didn't know their pedigree. I just knew something was amiss. It is the age of the internet and we should be prepared for situations like this. You can't blame whoever falls prey to this; it is the result of our unbridled penchant for preferring anything foreign, good or bad, a societal problem that has crept into the academia.
Dr. Sola Adeyanju, Zaria

I am sorry to observe that the problem of Nigerian academic system is beyond Lambert Publishing Company. There are many scammers in Nigeria and abroad doing the same thing like Lambert. Who is NUC going to screen when there are people that have been made Professors and are being made and would still be made without any major contribution in their field of studies while others who are better qualified were denied promotion. Nigeria problem is complex. Many in the Nigerian academic circle have questionable certificates and are placed as such with no commensurate ability. Promotion has become a patronage due to appointment of incompetent individuals as heads of the institutions. University is even better when you compare with Poly or COE where the highest rank is Chief Lecturer and regarded as equivalent of Associate Professor/Reader but without an academic effort of a Lecturer I in the University.
Bello Kamal

In Nigerian higher institutions of learning, the predominant teaching material is handout and self-published books. Print-on-demand books are just beginning to appear. The ideal material should be peer-reviewed publications. But, if a thesis is good for the award of a degree, then it is good to be published. Any quarrel with my thesis, Dr. Kperogi?

 As i was reading this, I decided to visit the Nigerian-linguists listserve to see if the new book advertised by a senior colleague was printed by Lambert Academic Publishing - your guess is as good as mine. Surprisingly, every other person who commented was congratulating him. Prof., it's disheartening to see people climb the academic ladder on the basis of fraud. Most annoying is the fact that ignorance thrives even in the academia.
Ignatius Usar

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